The US Food and Drug Administration announced Jan. 15 that, at its request, a federal judge has entered a consent decree between the FDA and Sunnyside, Washington-based Valley Processing Inc. and its owner and president to stop distributing adulterated juice products.
The FDA previously filed a complaint on November 6 stating that Valley’s juice products contained inorganic arsenic and patulin toxins at levels that can pose health risks to consumers.
During an inspection, FDA investigators found that Valley processed juice under “grossly insanitary conditions” and failed to adhere to relevant food safety standards, with the agency noting that this included storing grape juice concentrate that was contaminated with filth and mold in off-site storage tanks and covered barrels outside facilities for several years. And despite that contamination, Valley reportedly combined that juice concentrate with newer lots and distributed the mixture to consumers - which included school lunch programs.
The FDA complaint said that Valley promised to discontinue using that bad juice, but a follow-up inspection in 2019 showed that it was still happening.
As a result, the permanent injunction decree bars Valley Processing from receiving, preparing, processing, packing, holding, labeling and/or distributing FDA-regulated products unless it completes corrective actions, and it must destroy any juice still in its possession.